10 Facts About Kit Harington
by Lindsey Young
Everyone knows Kit Harington for his role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. But there's probably a lot you don't know about the London-born actor, who is celebrating his 32nd birthday today (including the fact that he hates celebrating his birthday).
1. His real name is Christopher—but even he didn't know that until his pre-teens.
Christopher Catesby Harington was born in west London on December 26, 1986. But as he has always gone by Kit, it wasn't until Harington was 11 years old that he found out his real name was "Christopher."
2. He was named after Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe.
Harington is named after famed playwright Christopher "Kit" Marlowe, who was an inspiration to William Shakespeare as well as Harington's mother, Deborah Jane Catesby, who is also a playwright. Harington himself dabbles in poetry-writing, though he told The Huffington Post that, "It’s terrible poetry. I would never ever ever read it to anybody. But I do write, I do write poems."
3. He began his career on the stage, in the original production of War Horse.
While still attending the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (he graduated in 2008), Harington landed the lead role in the National Theatre's original production of War Horse. In 2009, when the show transferred to the West End's New London Theatre, Harington continued playing the role of Albert, which brought him much acclaim. It was also the role that led him to the part of Jon Snow: one of the producers for Game of Thrones saw Harington in War Horse and asked him to come in for an audition.
4. He is only 5’8".
Though Harington is a force to be reckoned with on Game of Thrones, the actor is actually only 5’8". He once recalled a story about how a woman "came up to me at a bar and said 'OMG OMG you look just like Jon Snow.' and I said 'Well, I am.' And she was like, 'Nah, he’s much taller than you.'" (Ouch.)
5. He showed up to his Game of Thrones audition with a black eye.
The night before his Game of Thrones audition, Harington ended up in a McDonald's late at night with a woman he was dating. Because it was crowded, they grabbed a seat at a table with another couple, whom they didn't know. Shortly thereafter, the man across from them began making rude comments to Harington's date. Unfortunately, it was only after Harington stood up and challenged the stranger that realized just how tall his would-be opponent was. "I got battered," Harington admitted, and ended up with a fresh shiner. On the bright side, he thinks that his damaged face is part of what landed him the role. "I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job," he said. "So if you're watching, thank you."
6. He wore a wig for the original Game of Thrones pilot.
No, Harington's dark curly locks were not always his signature trademark. Although he later became contractually obligated to keep his hair long for the role of Jon Snow, that wasn't the case when they shot the original pilot for Game of Thrones—the one that never aired, not the one you remember. Harington, for one, is happy that it never saw the light of day. "I had a horrible wig on," he told BBC Breakfast in 2016.
Though that's not the sole reason he's glad they reshot it, though. "The pilot really didn’t work," Harington said. “No one’s ever seen it, it’s in some back room somewhere, and I’d like it to stay there!”
7. He's extremely claustrophobic, which posed an issue while shooting an iconic game of thrones scene.
While filming Game of Thrones's season six episode, "Battle of the Bastards," Harington had to come to terms with his extreme claustrophobia. "I've got a few fears, spiders being one of them," he told the Belfast Telegraph in 2017. "But the worst is my claustrophobia—I'm mortally afraid of crowds. I panic." He went on to describe the climactic scene in the episode as "one of the most terrifying ... and most uncomfortable" things he has ever done.
8. He's related to the guy who invented the flushable toilet.
When asked by Elle about the rumors that he is distantly related to John Harington, the man who invented the first flushable toilet (which was created for Queen Elizabeth I), Harington confirmed that, "That's 100 percent true. It's called 'the John Harington.'" Which is reportedly where the slang term "the john" originated. As for Kit, he's just people don't refer to the toilet as "the Harington."
9. He was forced to reveal Jon Snow's fate to get out of a speeding ticket.
After being sworn to secrecy about his fate in the sixth season, Harington was forced to give up the answer after being pulled over for speeding. The officer, a fan of the show, gave him two options: either deal with the punishment for speeding or tell him whether Jon Snow would live or die in the next season. Harington initially thought the man was joking, but after a second look he told him: “I am alive next season.” To which the officer responded, “On your way, Lord Commander."
10. He gets grumpy on his birthday.
December babies have long complained about the challenges of being able to truly celebrate the occasion. (The "dual" birthday-Christmas gift is a particularly annoying tradition.) But being born the day after Christmas—which is its own holiday, Boxing Day, in England—has always been a bummer for Harington. "I always end up getting really grumpy and selfish on my birthday," he told W Magazine, explaining that "I never get enough attention."